U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council Seeks Nominations

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC), which administers a national research and promotion program for highbush blueberries, is seeking nominees to fill thirteen member and thirteen alternate member seats on the USHBC.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees the program, would like to encourage all eligible industry members to participate in the process.  In an effort to enhance the diversity of the USHBC, USDA also encourages women, minorities and people with disabilities to seek positions on the USHBC.

As you may know, the USHBC is composed of 20 members and 20 alternates that are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture.  The USHBC meets throughout the year to review marketing and research activities and make recommendations to USDA regarding its programs.  The national program became effective in 2000 and is funded by assessments on domestic producers and importers.  The purpose of the program is to increase the consumption of highbush blueberries.

The thirteen member seats and thirteen alternate seats to be filled include: eight producer members and alternates from each of the top eight highbush blueberry producing states; one handler member and alternate; three importer members and alternates; and one exporter producer[1] member and alternate.  When a state has a state blueberry commission or marketing order in place, the state organization will nominate members and alternates to serve on the USHBC.  When a state does not have a commission or marketing order, the USHBC shall conduct nominations. The USHBC’s Industry Relations Committee will recommend a slate of potential importer, exporter, and handler nominees to the USHBC’s Executive Committee.  The USHBC will then submit two nominees for each member and each alternate position to USDA.  All thirteen positions are for a 3-year term of office beginning January 1, 2020.

Nomination applications for importer, exporter and handler nominees are due to the USHBC by February 22, 2019.   Nomination applications for state nominees is due to the USHBC by April 15, 2019.  Applications are available at www.ushbc.org or from the USHBC. 

If you are interested in increasing your involvement in the blueberry industry, we encourage you to consider running for a position on the USHBC.  Detailed information on the process is being provided to you by the USHBC.  If you would like more information on the program or on serving on the USHBC, please contact the USHBC Executive Director, at 916-983-0111 or by email at elections@blueberry.org; or the Promotion and Economics Division at 202-720-9915.

[1] This position represents producers that ship blueberries into the United States from the largest foreign blueberry production area (currently Canada).